BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 11) — The most successful racer on the NHRA tour this year with three wins and a 20-4 race day record, Pro Stock racer Jeg Coughlin Jr. enters this weekend’s ninth annual Thunder Valley Nationals hoping to get better in his Chevrolet Cobalt.

Perhaps Coughlin’s drive to push himself, even when he’s out-performing everyone else in the sport, regardless of class, is the reason he has five world championships and 57 national event victories at just 38 years of age.

“There’s always room for improvement,” Coughlin said. “In Pro Stock, we set a 16-car field that many times features a spread of just four or five hundredths of a second from the top guy to the final qualifier. When it’s that close you have no thought of giving anything less than 100 percent every single pass. You have to.

“We’ve had a great start to the season, no doubt, but credit the entire team, not just me. I have a super crew chief in Roy Simmons. The crew guys haven’t made any mistakes. The guys back in Mooresville (N.C.) in the chassis and engine shops are working around the clock. It takes a team effort, and every time I hoist a trophy there are many hands holding that Wally in the air.”

The story this year has been Coughlin’s exceptional driving effort. With an average starting position of just sixth place on the elimination grid, Coughlin has been razor sharp at the Christmas Tree, leaving ahead of his rivals 15 times and inducing an additional five red-light starts by his opponents. He’s only left the line second four times.

“I’m in a real comfortable place with my driving right now,” Coughlin said. “The racers in this class are so good top to bottom and I really enjoy the competitiveness on the racetrack. I feel like I’ve gotten up on the wheel pretty well this year and it’s helped us.

“The crew has enough to worry about. If I can be super consistent in the car it allows them to concentrate on fine tuning every element.”

Coughlin is currently on a streak of four final-round appearances in a row. He’d like to push that number to five straight, which would assure him of leaving Thunder Valley in the Full Throttle point lead. He currently has a 49-point edge on Jason Line.

In 2007, Coughlin won the Thunder Valley Nationals after qualifying No. 1 and setting low elapsed time of the meet. He is one of just four NHRA pros, along with Top Fuel drivers Antron Brown and Tony Schumacher, and Pro Stock racer Line, without a first-round loss this season.


ยท ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 6 p.m. (ET) on Saturday May 16. On Sunday, May 17, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will feature NHRA Race Day, a 30-minute pre-race show, at 11 a.m. (ET), and three hours and 30 minutes of eliminations coverage at 7 p.m. (ET).

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